Top of this document
Go directly to navigation
Go directly to page content

Artist 10

Barbara Visser

People can only deal with the fantasy when they are ready for it. De Paviljoens 2001-2012

With these photos in the series Detitled, Barbara Visser conducts research into the fetishism for vintage furniture. The collector wants the original furniture, which causes them to be the most expensive. The older, the better it seems. Even if they are a bit rusty or need a new fabric. The series of photos shows heavily damaged design classics, amongst which a chair from the 1930s and stools from the 1950s by Alvar Aalto; the arm chair with ornament by Charles & Ray Eames, the plastic chair by Joe Colombo, and the day-bed from 1958 by Martin Visser. Even though it concerns mass products, vintage furniture has the aura of an artwork or the first print of a book. For the true lover of this furniture, the sight of these photos will be horrifying; as if they have been mutilated. As if there is a big scratch on your new car.

What happens to the identity of these icons from the design world if they are broken down or worn out? The furniture is no longer functional and because of this, can be regarded as sculptures. The mutilated furniture seems to refer to artworks like the paintings by Lucio Fontana and a sculpture by Henry Moore.

They’re unique products instead of mass products. Visser gives them a new name and simultaneously a new identity. She photographed the torn furniture in a sterile manner as if they were published in a catalogue of a shop. The pictures were first published in the art magazine A-Prior.

The rise of mass media like (digital) photography, film, television, and internet has a major influence on the work by Barbara Visser. She studies the way in which people, objects, and happenings are being pictured and how people look at images. She is fascinated by the way in which people deal with design and how these people are formed because of the furniture.

Mireille de Putter

Portrait of the Artist
For the exhibition Vertaalde Werken / Translated Works, Barbara Visser 1990 – 2006, together with designer Laurenz Brunner Barbara Visser developed a special way to show earlier, site-specific work. The 1/1 black and white images of these projects were showed together in one of the pavilions and gave a completely new translation of older works by Barbara Visser.

During six months, Barbara Visser has let herself been portrayed by 18 different street artists at different locations in the world. The drawings show 18 interpretations of the person Barbara Visser. The work was first shown during Peiling 92 in Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam. The series was shown with push pins on a board. The sponsor of the exhibition, Shell Nederland BV – loaned the work to

Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen. The museum decided to frame the photo’s. In 2002, these 18 framed portraits were exhibited in Museum De Paviljoens during the group exhibition It’s Unfair!

The version of the work that is exhibited now, has been created after the solo exhibition of Barbara Visser in Museum De Paviljoens. During the workshop Art for Kids, at the last day of the exhibition, Barbara Visser assigned the children to draw their own interpretations of her on the portraits of the wall paper. The result was photographed, which was printed as a new wallpaper

Le monde appartient a ceux qui ce levent tot
On the occasion of a project in Villa Arson in Nice in 2002, Barbara Visser created these photographs at the coast of Southern France. The photos were shown in the city of Nice as posters at 200 bus stops. Furthermore, the photos were published in regional news papers. Both in image convention and in manner of presentation, this work mixes several photographic genres. This causes the images to be acceptable of more than one interpretation. The images call on associations with journalistic photo’s of refugees washed ashore, but also with glossy marketing photo’s in which a man is tanning on the beach. A game is played with the expectations of the viewer. Visser discusses the boarder between fact and fiction and between documentary and staged photography.

Barbara Visser
Barbara Visser attended the Cooper Union in New York and the Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht. She lives and works in Amsterdam. The work was on show in the MACBA in Barcelona, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, during the Biennial of Venice, in the Museum de Arte Moderna in Sao Paolo, the Ludwig Museum in Budapest , and the ICA in London. Barbara Visser won the Dr. A.H. Heineken Award, the Charlotte Kohler Award and the David Roell Award. More information about Barbara Visser can be found at

Barbara Visser, Haarlem, the Netherlands, 1966

Detitled (2000-2006)

Installation (previous in a magazine, as a photo, postcard, and poster)
Showed during the solo exhibition Vertaalde Werken / Translated Works, Barbara Visser 1990 – 2006
Acquired in 2007 (Galerie Annet Gelink)

Portrait of the artist (1992-2006)

Mixed techniques, wallpaper
Acquired in 2008 from Galery Annet Gelink

Le monde appartient a ceux qui ce levent tot (2002-2006)

5 Posters, format A0
Acquired in 2007 from Galerie Annet Gelink